Aeon Flux Review
27 Jun 2010   Reviews

Aeon Flux Review

Stop the printing press! Madmind now is one the most important movie blogs ever.

Some days ago an informant sent us/me (and not Wikileaks (yeah, baby)) some tapes containing all discussions of the screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi regarding the final draft for the stylish scifi movie Aeon Flux. The decoding of the analogue encryption took some years but it was definitely worthwhile. The tapes themselves are about ten hours long – minus the accumulated twenty days of silence in between when the authors were silently thinking or waiting for the pizza service to answer the phone.

Since it would be way too much to leak everything here, I only publish their discussions regarding the first 14 minutes of Aeon Flux (I save the best stuff so I have something to save my ass against Paramount):

Manfredi: You know Phil, I think the first seconds of the movie are fantastic. There’s no better way to introduce a character than letting her catch a fly with her eye lashes.

Paul: Yep, totally agreed. Nothing beats that awesomeness. The teens will love it! But somehow I get the feeling we could her introduce a little better.

Manfredi: What do you mean? We introduce her perfectly with the opening text of how the world became how it is now.

Phil: Oh yeah, I love that stuff. Simple but elegant. Nothing beats some lines of text on a big screen.

Manfredi: On that regard…don’t you think we should be more consistent here?

Phil: What do you mean?

Manfredi: You know, right at the beginning we smash some cool lines of text onto the screen. But seconds later – after Aeon catches the fly – we added some voice over narration which tells the audience about the city and the resistance. Wouldn’t it be better to either do everything text only or voice over narration only?

Phil: Hey, I love this kind of diversity. But if you want you can change it. But don’t forget the work, pal, it takes some seconds to change “title card” to “voice over”.

Manfredi: …Agreed, diversity is cool. And it’s really enough introduce us to the world. We only would surprise the audience too much, if we’d add some motivation of Aeon herself.

Phil: Yeah, you’re right. You cannot introduce the audience to both the world and Aeon’s motivation at once. Would be way too much at the beginning. Moreover, Aeon Flux is an action scifi – believable character motivation is for sissies.

Those "brain talk" outfits constantl remind me of a trilogy called Lord of the Rings.

Those "brain talk" outfits somehow remind me of a trilogy called Lord of the Rings. But I am sure that's totally coincidental.

Manfredi: Okay, onto the next thing: the moment when she’s brain talking with the hot mastermind. I think the idea is cool somehow stupid. I really hope that no one notices.

Phil: What?

Manfredi: Aeon is walking in broad daylight – while she’s talking in her brain with the Handler. Normally Aeon should’ve run into someone else or fall down, since she cannot see shit. She basically walks blind in those moments. But well, I believe this was in the comics, so we cannot do much about it.

Phil: I don’t know, I like the idea of brain talking though. Okay, the walking thing could be an issue, but there are enough geeks and nerds out there. No problems here. The only thing that nags me are the constant costume changes of Aeon. In the first six minutes alone she wears four different costumes. That’s even more than the first shitfest of the Star Wars prequels managed to achieve.

Manfredi: Oh, come on, not that again. You know we need to address the teenage girls demographics – and the teenage boys demographics. We cannot change that. If done right it could look fantastic. But you’re not the only one. From the last discussions you know I totally hate the dialogue between Aeon and her sister Una at the market. It’s so stupid! Moments ealier ago we establish that the city is one big surveillance camera – only to let Aeon talk in broad daylight with her sister about throwing over the Goodchild regime. Way to go, man! That’s so stupid. In this dialogue we even establish the fact that they talked about this stuff more than once. Why did nothing happen and – for example – both be thrown into jail?

Phil: I slightly agree, but on the other hand you know the saying that the more information you have, the less information you find.

Manfredi: Yeah, that’s true. And if we now change anything, we’d have to rewrite the whole scene. I hate it but let’s continue.

That's some lovely appartment Aeon lives in. Her medicine vault must have been filled up with antidepressants.

That's some lovely appartment Aeon lives in. Her medicine vault must have been filled up with antidepressants.

Phil: Which right leads to my costume complaint  number two. I know we discussed it earlier, but come on…why does she of all things have to wear a white suit when she’s working in the night and black would be better? I still don’t understand this.

Manfredi: Because the white suit is for the audience, not for logic. We need to see her clearly.

Phil: As do the guards…which are better camouflaged than our heroine by the way.

Manfredi: Those are stupid and no names. No risks here I think. Do you think those guards are just stupid enough, or already too stupid for our movies sake?

Phil: Hmm, good question. If they’d be able to fight properly it would mess up our nice action choreography and timing. We have to keep the script at 90 pages.

Manfredi: You’re right. And adding more guards would add some other timing problems. So it’s better to keep the numbers in the dozen for the most important facility in the whole city.

Phil: Do I smell some irony here?

Manfredi: No.

Phil: By the way…we really should change the moment when Aeon jumps down into the open main surveillance chamber – it gives of the feeling as if she knew from the script there’d be a gymnastics apparatus hanging from the ceiling. I always get a strange feeling when reading this.

Manfredi: Hmmm, I don’t. I always imagine that Aeon hacks into the blueprints of the building, so she really knows beforehand. I think that imagination of the audience is very important for this movie to work.

Phil: Oh yeah, imagination is important. You see, seconds later after jumping down she has a pitch perfect device to destroy the whole surveillance stuff. If I’d start to think about this on a logic level I’d be getting nightmares and headaches. Because how the fuck could the resistance create this device and how did they know how the surveillance system works? And why are there no safety mechanisms?…Argh, please let’s continue, before I cannot bear any longer and start to write something better.

Manfredi: I can understand you, but at least the next scene is totally awesome. It’s so emotional when her sister gets killed. It’s a shame that we’re way too lazy at the moment to put this scene right at the beginning. We’d have our crystal clear character motivation. But then we also would have to rewrite at least a dozen dialogues. And that’s too much work.

Phil: Absolutely, and think about this…If her sister’s death would be her main motivation we would have to write at least three scenes which introduce the audience to her more. You know, the audience in this version of Aeon Flux probably will give a shit about the death scene. They know nothing of Una.

Manfredi: Now that you mention it…

Phil: But well, that doesn’t really matter I think, We aim for cool action moments and impressive visuals, empathy would only distract.

Manfredi: That’s a good point. We are working for MTV Films, so impressive visuals without substance is our motto.

Phil: Yeah, and talking about logic and sense makes me hungry, especially when I start thinking about those strange hand-feet of Sithandra. Let’s call the pizza service?

Manfredi: Let’s call the pizza service!

You know, there’s not really much I could add here as a reviewer.

That's what you get when MTV is at the helm.
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  • TBK

    Downright disturbing how well you know your satire material. Perhaps a closet fan I know I am. Moon was crap not Aeon Flux. Else why are we still talking about this movie after nearly 5 years!

    • Gunther Heinrich

      Well, this is madmind. The movie blog outside the frame. Of course this includes the time frame, so I don’t really care about the age of a movie when I decide to review it.

      It happens that I watched Moon some weeks ago. While that movie had some lengths (but a cool revival of HAL (all hail HAL!)) it’s definitely better than Aeon Flux. A hot chick walking around in a ass cool set doesn’t make a great story. MTV mistook movie making for music video making.

Reply to TBK